4.45 Sandwon – bet365 Handicap
John Gosden’s even-money favourite Jacks Hobbs will take a lot of beating in this handicap, but Sir Michael Stoute’s STRAVAGANTE may give him most to think about. Both of these nicely-bred types are open to significant improvement given their light juvenile campaigns and it wouldn’t surprise to see them pull clear of this field.
On his first start last season Stravangante ran in a solid course maiden, but was simply too green to do himself justice while also being strongly inconvenienced by his slow start and early race position. A huge step forward came on his next outing when winning a useful Newcastle maiden. The improvement was there for all to see and he looked to have learned from his first start.
This time jumping much more effectively the son of Rip Van Winkle travelled kindly behind the leaders before picking up to score nicely. He didn’t do anything quick, but really ground it out and stayed on nicely.
The form of this race looks sound now with the runner-up currently rated 94 while the third home has since run well in a useful-looking Newbury maiden. Given the second home’s rating the selection is potentially well-handicapped off 85 today.
With his useful pedigree, strong connections and Ryan Moore aboard, as well as his form looking sound, Stravangante looks worth chancing today despite this being his first run of the year. He steps up in trip, which is a small concern, but his pedigree offers hope and more importantly, he shaped like getting it at Newcastle.
I’m also going to suggest a play in an alternative market as I still feel this is value and have great respect for the John Gosden horse, although I do feel he is very short and is essentially making the market for our selection.
1pt each-way STRAVAGANTE @8/1 (Boylesports), 15/2 (bet365, William Hill)
1pt win STRAVAGANTE @100/30 (bet365, Coral, William Hill) (Betting without Jack Hobbs market)